Over the past 37 years, the woman’s role in a family has changed enormously. According to a Pew Research Center report released today, more men in 2007 than 1970 are married to women who are more educated and make more money than they do themselves. A lot of things are at play here, creating this trend of smarty-pants female breadwinners, one of which is that in the 30 to 34 age group, more U.S.-born women than men have college degrees. Along with more of us going to college, we’re also making more money than we were 40 years ago. In 2007, median earnings of full-time female workers were 71 percent of what comparable men made, compared with 52 percent in 1970.
And while the economic downturn has been a total bummer for all of us, it actually hasn’t been as terrible for women. Because more “male” industries have been affected, women have actually seen gains: In December 2009, we constituted 47.4 percent of the employed. Among couples that had two breadwinners until recently, it’s likely that the man is now out of work and the woman is the primary breadwinner. Keep reading »